JITAFA is a unique fashion design, small business based in Barbados, started by Kimesha Skeete. At an early age she realized her passion was to create, which made her decided to come up with her own clothing brand in 2002 with consistency and perseverance. JITAFA is now one of three top designing brands in Barbados. JITAFA Is all about bringing that extra arena, her motto is always "be extra never think of the occasion let the occasion think of you. Dress up, show up and stand out".
CEM got the chance to speak to founder and designer of JITAFA, Kimesha Skeete.
How did you fall in love with fashion?
The sense of Fashion is a gift; it was always there even before I knew myself. As a child I disliked the fact my dollies had to wear the same thing ever dolly was wearing, also they never had enough clothes so I started making them stylish clothes. At that young age, I of course didn’t understand what I was doing, until I grew older and the passion got more intense.
How would you describe yourself to someone who does not know you and your work? I'm a vibrant, fun, outgoing individual who dislikes a routine. I'm always looking to create; remake or intake what’s new, what would be a hit, what would pop, and what’s unique.
My work is high end fashion; it's very bold and daring for that strong, independent woman who loves the occasion to remember her.
What is your definition of style?
Style can be defined in so many ways I would say mine is a method of which you learn as you grow, expressing who you are or even who you could be, through what you wear. Basically, it's a unique form of attire or a way of rearranging your appearance depending on the mood or occasion.
How would you describe your brand?
My brand is fresh, unique, bold; exquisite it’s for the woman who loves to stand out above it all.
What challenges did you have to overcome in the early years of your career?
Starting out wasn’t challenging for me. I knew what I wanted and did things step by step. My main challenge currently is expanding worldwide and become recognized as one of the top designers, owning my own fashion firm with the whole works, from stylist to fashion designers, graphic designer, fabric designers, fashion journalist , pattern drafter.etc. The whole team needed to produce the best of the best.
Who is the muse that inspires your creations?
I would say Zuhair Murad, his gowns are amazing, from the fabrics to the technique and the way they're structured. My creativity normally comes when I see awesome fabrics.
What are the pros and cons of working in fashion?
Some of the cons are: You always have to keep up with various trends, competition is high, Income is unpredictable, one has to be on guard at all times that your designs are not copied, be prepared for the negative critics everyone will not like your work and can be overwhelming.
On the other hand the business does come with the Pros: Self satisfaction of your work and owning your own business. Being a designer is fun and creative as each project is different. Overall once the passion and dedication is there it can overpower the cons.
Can you tell us more about the creative process behind your collections?
My creativity comes when I see fabrics and materials such as pearls appliqué trims and different types of bridal lace. That part has grown on me because here in Barbados, we are limited to really nice fabrics so I would create my own by hand sewing beads and embroidery onto my garments. I'm never basic, I always asked “ was this done already” then I do research to make sure and it always works in my favor. Plus, I was blessed with the gift so that sums it all up.
How do you produce and distribute your designs?
At present I have a small business, I’m hands on with everything.
When do you think a woman is truly elegant?
I believe it’s numerous things that makes a woman elegant; as simple as how she walks like the world is watching, always dress to express who she is, when negative critics are thrown she never claps back, doesn’t have time for gossip, respects and gives admiration of her peers, speaks with clarity, takes time for herself, and is never afraid to apologize.